Here’s the full transcript of Michelle’s Obama’s speech which she delivered this morning at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto. It was moving, inspiring and perfectly delivered:
MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. It is such a pleasure and an honor to be here with all of you today.
I want to start by thanking Graca Machel for that just gracious, kind introduction. It is overwhelming. And I want to thank her for her lifetime of service as a champion for women and children. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for all of the kindness and generosity that you have shown my family for our visit here. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
I am also honored to share the stage with another remarkable leader, Baleka Mbete. (Applause.) She has played a vital role in advancing equality and promoting development here in South Africa. Thank you to the both of you for joining us here for sharing this moment with all of us.
I also want to thank the Archbishop of Johannesburg for honoring us today with his presence.
And of course, I want to recognize our guests of honor –- these 76 extraordinary young women leaders from here in South Africa and across the continent. (Applause.)
These are young women transforming their communities and their countries, and let me tell you I am so impressed by all of them. I am so proud of everything they have achieved. Read More…
I watched, last week, Sara Blecher’s documentary Surfing Soweto, a story of three young men who surf trains. This is a dangerous, but thrilling pastime for these men who’ve got no work, no prospects and little to do. Blecher offers various reasons why these men surf trains, and risk their lives. One important reason is that they are fatherless, they don’t have role models. This and other social and economic circumstances, have left the men disrespectuful of life. For this reason, the film suggests, they have turned to drink, drugs, and dangerous activities.
They are good at train surfing, the footage of their surfing is exciting, and earns them not a small degree of respect and sex appeal. But, too often young men senselessly die under a high voltage cable. And Blecher shows us a family, a devasted mother, in mourning, while at the funerals we see youths dance and celebrate their fallen heroes.
In contrast to this film about these fatherless men and their dangerous lives, Karin Slater’s beautiful and gentle film, An Intersection, is a tribute to a man, and his wife (both HIV positive), who wants to have a baby despite the circumstances and the prejudices they face. In an interview with the father, he opens the film with, “There are a lot of fathers out there, but few daddies.” Slater tells the story with gentleness and apparently little intervention of a family and especially of a father.
We meet the couple just before the birth of the baby, follow them to hospital and back all the while we’re drawn into their intimate world, and into the father’s desire to be a parent again after the tragic loss of his first wife and a young child.
Watch the films. The next screening of An Intersecton is at the Encounters Documentary Festival in Johannesburg on Tuesday 21 June. I am not sure when Surfing Soweto will be screened next in South Africa. But tonight it is showing in Tarifa, Spain.
Recently I read Michael Lind’s piece, Everything You’ve Heard About Fossil Fuels May Be Wrong, on Salon.com and felt soothed and reassured that my children’s futures will be secure, warm and hopeful. He writes about fracking and issues around solar and wind power. Ultimately he says there is enough natural gas and hydrate gas to last for a thousand years to come. And that we should go ahead and frack because it’s no less dirty than solar and wind power is. But I was sceptical about his optimism, and asked environmental consultant, Crispian Olver, to read and comment on the piece. Here is his response:
(Michael Lind’s) views are highly one sided, and his statements about climate change put him in the denialist camp. The estimates he gives about fracking and methane hydrates are highly speculative, since no one is tapping these resources in any real quantities, and they are fraught with their own environmental problems. Most importantly, methane is one of the most potent green house gases that we know of, and the impact of continued fossil fuel use on climate change will be massive. Lastly his comments about renewables quote selective facts to build an anti-renewables case. I would be interested to know who is funding this guy.
Artist Francois Cadiere has designed these wonderful interpretations for fashion house Louis Vuitton for new textile accessories. The photographer and master of handmade collages made these beautiful, quirky images to suggest ways of wearing the designs. Nevermind the clothes, accessories… aren’t these gorgeous images?
PS: Louis Vuitton today launched a website to inspire young people to get involved with contemporary art.
On that grubby, noisy Jan Smuts Avenue hang some of the most beautiful, ephemeral works I’ve seen in a long while. Ross’ most recent works are currently displayed at David Krut Projects. I popped in very briefly on Thursday evening for the opening, before the crowds arrived. But I was there for long enough to be impressed by the artist’s new body of abstract works. The works are presented as an installation with works mirroring each other along two walls of the gallery. Each work is beautiful in itself, but is best understood when seen as a mirror of the work on the opposite wall. The works illustrate Ross’ interest, in her own words, “in the momentary and the transient, impermanence and ambiguity… the experience of life itself.”
Speaking about the title of the show Ross says that “1:1 is an intimate conversation that originated from me confronting myself and the themes of intimacy and privacy. The entire exhibition is like a giant Rorschach test which is a mirror to the unconscious to the self.”
See David Krut Projects for more about Ross and her work. Below is one of the works Blue Madonna.
The exhibition runs until 2 July 2011.
I’ve just read some drivel with pictures to illustrate how,horror of horrors, drinking and smoking have spoilt and lined Kate Moss’ beautiful face. Tracking her ageing from when she was first spotted at Heathrow airport and from the time of this shoot for a bridal magazine (pic below) to now when the writer says she looks like a 47-year old woman, her hard partying is blamed. When in fact now she looks like a stylish woman, twenty years later, who has had a busy life including a few parties. Nothing wrong with that.
PS: If you missed the news, Kate will be marrying her long-term boyfriend, Jamie Hince on July 2. Mario Testino who knows how to capture a woman to perfection will be photographing the day. This after his recent assignment to photograph the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding. According to the Telegraph he told the iPad newspaper The Daily, how he hopes to: “capture the happiness that Kate is going through at the moment.” This picture below is from the bridal shoot she did when she was 17. We know that she won’t be looking quite as smooth-skinned and ethereal as she did then. But whatever she chooses to wear, she’ll look her stylish, elegant, and funky self.
Wrong season, I know. I should be wearing mohair scarves and capes. But this is beautiful and soft and romantic. Lily Allen (yes the pop star), with her sister, Sarah Owen has created an 18-piece collection for her shop. A year ago, she put her music career on hold and opened Lucy in Disguise. Now she’s stocking it.
The range was inspired by “the idea of the Lucy character taking a trip through several decades of fashion. Floor-length gowns and sequinned minidresses, in a plethora of contrasting colours, take Lucy from an afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason, to a romantic trip to Chicago,” says The Telegraph’s Olivia Bergin.